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secret Santa

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This early Monday morning Daryl felt more like an outsider than usual, while his class mates all talked about Thanksgiving from a few days ago. They told each other proudly about how many of their relatives were there to celebrate this day with them together. Some also boasted with how big their turkey was or how many great things their parents had snatched for them on black Friday.

Even when Daryl didn't want to listen to them and their great stories, he finally still had to, because there was no place in this room, where no one talked about this day. He had also to admit, that he was never that relieved to see his teacher, when she finally appeared into the loud classroom.

The first few minutes Daryl even tried to listen to his teacher Mrs. Roberts, but finally the words of his class mates didn't stop to run trough his head and Daryl automatically began to think about his Thanksgiving.

It was a day like every one. Nothing special. Nothing great. Nothing to celebrate about. He woke up in the late morning, just to find the house empty. His father was still at one of his favourite bars, while Merle had probably spent the night at some random girl's house and now slept out his hangover.

Alone Daryl tried to make his homework, before he made himself some sandwich for lunch. When he had heard the door in the early afternoon, he had prayed that it will be his older brother, but instead his father came all drunk inside.

Daryl exactly knew what he had to do now. Hide himself inside his room, if he didn't want some slaps already right now. He waited some minutes, since his father had disappeared inside the bedroom, before Daryl slipped out of his room and went into the woods, where he felt somehow safe.

He only came home again, when it was already dark, hoping that his father was still asleep. Daryl also hoped for the company of Merle, maybe they could do something together, but all what he got was a big fight between his father and older brother, when he reached the front door.

Daryl waited, till the fight was over and in the assumption, that both were in their rooms right now, he opened the front door and slipped quietly inside. But he was wrong. His father was sitting in the living room, with a bottle red wine in one hand and a cigarette in his other. He exactly knew in that moment, what will happen next.

While Mrs. Roberts talked about a Christmas game she used to play, when she was little, Daryl absently touched his left upper arm, where his father had dragged him sharp into his room that day. His grip was so tight, that he was still all blue there. He probably won't be able to sleep on this side for the next few days.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday weren't any better, but Daryl was already used to this. It was his life. Merle tried to spend as less time at home as possible and when he was there at some point, he wasn't interested any more to do something together with his little brother. At least Merle wasn't nasty to him, as long as Daryl didn't annoy him.

In contrast to his father. Daryl couldn't remember any more, when he had heard his father saying one whole sentences without a swearword. If he had ever heard him so anyway. Daryl had also already stopped to count the days, where his father did hurt him or yell at him for no reason.

It were already so many, since his mother had died this spring. Over the summer they had moved into this town and finally ended up in an even more dilapidated hut, than before. His father didn't buy food any more, Daryl had to do this on his own. Sometimes Merle did it, but not so often any more.

Daryl was glad, when one time every week he got some money from his father to buy some food, but only if he was lucky. He wore the worst clothes, most of them didn't fit him any more and were all from a thrift shop. Their home was stinky, looked awful and was dirty everywhere. But what should he do? Daryl was only twelve years old and was just happy, when he could fall asleep without any new bruises or wounds.

He was still deep inside his thoughts, when the voice of his teacher finally got to his ears. Mrs. Roberts talked about, that everyone had to play along and that it will be so much fun. With that, Daryl gave his whole attention back to the reality.

About what did his teacher talk about? What game and how did it work? What had he to do? Daryl was planes, while he tried to listen carefully to Mrs. Roberts.

"Everyone writes their name on a little white sheet and puts it into this box." The teacher said, while she took the blue box into the air so everyone could see it, before she handled it to the pupil on her left. "Then everyone will pull out one and then you know for whom you will be the secret Santa."

Daryl was still planless, while he wrote his name in this awful handwriting of himself on a piece of paper and finally placed it inside the blue box. Because no one was sitting next to him, because no one wanted to sit next to him, something Daryl was already used to, he got up and give the box to Anna. She didn't even look up or gave him any attention. Daryl also didn't question himself this behaviour of his class mates any more.

While the box was still going around the room, Mrs. Roberts went on "So one more time. Once every week until Christmas, you will make your portage little presents. But the most important thing, you won't let your portage know, that you are her or his secret Santa."

While his teacher went on, Daryl breathed out relieved about this information. No one will get to know, that he will be some ones secret Santa. Because he exactly knew, that no one wanted him to be it. No one wanted him, he was stinky Dixon, the new one in the class. The outsider.

But his relief was gone pretty quickly again, when Daryl thought about the presents he had to give. He didn't have any money to buy someone presents, he didn't even have money to buy himself something he wanted. And Daryl also knew, that he didn't have to ask his father or brother for some. God forbid they would find out for what useless thing, like they would call it, he would use it.

But then his teacher's voice got his attention again, when she said "You don't have to buy big presents or buy anything at all. Maybe you can do handicraft something or give something you don't need any more. You don't have to spend much money or any money at all. Just have fun with giving and remember, don't let yourself get caught or the whole magic will be gone."

Again relieved, Daryl leaned back into his seat, thinking about how thankfully he was for that and how annoyed he was at the same time about this stupid game. Didn't matter, he will make, whoever his portage will be, four little presents, something he will hopefully find in the very last corner of his home, and then he will have made it. No one will ever get to know, that it was him and they won't tease him even more.

Daryl also already knew right now, that he won't get anything from anyone, because yeah. Nobody liked him. Either they were teasing him, made fun of him or ignored him at all like he was nothing. But Daryl was used to this, he also was the outside in his last in school.

On some days he didn't listen to their nasty words or watched their gestures or expression, when he walked past them. Sometimes he even got into a fight, when he tried to tell them to shut up and stop it. They sometimes even made fun about him, because his mother was death. That she was even too damn stupid to smoke and died because of it. But on some days he cried himself into sleep, because of everything, always trying to be as quiet as possible so his father and brother won't hear him. Merle would call him a baby and that he should stop to cry. His father would slap him into his tear streamed face and yell to shut up, because he couldn't hear the television because of his whimpers and cries. Sometimes his father also told him, how disappointed he was to have such a sissy as son.

But Daryl was used to all this. Sometimes he just wished, that his mother would still be alive. Not because she was nice to him or had saved him from his father's words or hands, but at least she didn't hurt him physically. From time to time she even went shopping, when she had won some money in the casino and had some left, after she had bought her new drugs. At least that weight wouldn't last on Daryl's shoulders any more.

But since she was gone, his father slapped him even harder and more often. He also used his belt from time to time or just throw the next best thing at him. But Daryl didn't question his life any more, how could someone like him deserve something better than this?

Daryl got away from his thoughts, when the boy in front of him give him the blue box with a raised nose and he even wiped off his palms on his jeans, after Daryl had taken it, like he was poison. While he breathed deep inside his lungs, trying to forget the boy's stupid gesture, Daryl mixed the sheets inside the box, took one out, before he handled it to the girl, who didn't look at him.

Daryl prayed to God, that hopefully it won't be someone bad, hopefully one of his school mates, who did ignore him. With shaking hands he unfolded the white sheet and in a beautiful handwriting he could finally read the name of his portage. Beth Greene.

Shocked Daryl swallowed hard, asking himself why it had to be her? Why not someone else? He would have even preferred the worst of his class mates right now, instead of her.

It wasn't because Beth was mean, unkind, did ignore or tease him. It was because she was the only one his class, who didn't do any of these things. She was shy, like to everyone, but didn't ignore him. Beth said hello and good bye almost every day to him, when they entered or left the class at the same time. She had even waved at him once over the street and he was so perplexed that day, that he just stared shocked back at her.

She did never help her friends to tease him, she never made fun of him or said his nasty nick name, at least not in front of him. When their eyes caught, Beth even smiled sweet at him, but Daryl's cheeks always just began to blush and quickly he looked away again, telling himself that this cute smile wasn't for him.

Beth Greene was the definition of a well-behaved girl. She was best in class, maybe even in school, made everything perfect and her parents were much respected people in town. Her father and mother were the best vets in the whole country, at least people were telling so.

Daryl knew Beth had an older brother named Shawn, he had heard somewhere, that he was just doing his education as a policeman. Her older sister Maggie was also famous here in school, she was a great cheer leader.

Beth Greene was perfect and so beautiful. Every boy in the class tried to impress her as often as possible. They even fought for her, for going for some ice cream with her together later in the afternoon.

But Beth didn't seem to bother about the hurly-burly about herself. She was just interested to get good notes, so she could become later a great vet, like her parents. Of course, Daryl had also already caught himself often enough staring at her.

At her long locks, especially when she had opened them and they fell over her shoulders like a golden river. Also, the plenty little freckles on her sweet nose he had already noticed and especially her piercing blue eyes, framed from those long dark eyelashes. Beth was so small and thin, Daryl asked himself sometimes, if she would fall apart, if he would touch her unwanted, so fragile she was looking.

Beth definitely was every boy's dream and right now Daryl had pulled exactly her out of his classmates. Hell, if they would ever get to know that. They would make even more fun about him, maybe some boys would want to punch him, if he would ever try to get too close to her, because they thought that Beth were theirs.

Daryl really had to make sure, that no one will find it out. He also didn't want to embarrass Beth. Even when she probably won't ever admit it, she would also be disappointed about having him as her secret Santa.

And the worst of all, what should he, stinky Dixon, give someone as beautiful and perfect like Beth Greene? What present would be enough for her? What did she like? Where did he find it? How and when should he place the present on her place, so she and no one else will notice it?

Daryl could fell how his whole body was shaking overwhelmed, his hands were sweating and his whole body felt damn hot, while he tried to find the answers to his many questions. Only the school bell finally stopped his worries, before Daryl had to go to his next lesson.


Mrs. Roberts had told them to start with the first present this week. It was already Thursday and Daryl still had no idea, what he should give Beth tomorrow. Himself he also still hadn't got a present, but he wasn't sad about that, it was just like he had expected.

Daryl had already turned his home upside down to find something Beth could like, but of course in this stinky, old hut he found just nothing. Hating himself for the situation he was in, Daryl tried to get a clean mind and went for a walk into the safe woods. It was very cold outside and the dark grey clouds above his head were telling him, that they will even get some snow this late afternoon.

While he walked with a dropped head trough the forest, still thinking hard about what he could give a girl like Beth, when he kicked some stones, which came into the way, away with his feet. Absently Daryl also kicked away one light green one.

First he hadn't even noticed the seldom coloured stone, only after he had kicked it away, he suddenly got it, that this stone could be his present for Beth. Quickly Daryl's dropped head snapped up and with widened eyes he looked at the forest ground for the stone.

But he couldn't find it any more. Finally he let himself sank on the cold ground, asking himself why such things did always happen to him. But why did he still ask himself that question after everything, he was already used to it.

Slowly Daryl could feel how his body filled with anger. Angry about himself for not thinking quick enough. It would have been an even good present for her, but like always in his life he had failed pitifully.

Desperately Daryl leaned his head against his angled legs, watched how the first snowflakes of the year started to cover the country. In a few hours the pretty stone will be buried under a thick layer of snow and impossible for him to find any more.

Trying to calm down, Daryl watched the snowflakes for a few minutes, till his eyes suddenly caught something glistening in the weak sun beams. Shocked he quickly crawled to where the light green stone was laying in the moose and instantly Daryl took it safe into his hand, so he couldn't lose it one more time.

The stone was looking even more beautiful from near. Not as beautiful as Beth, but still. This stone was worthy to be called a present for her. Relieved and with a big smile on his face Daryl took it deep inside his pocket. Even checked every few steps if it was still inside, while he went home.

The first snowflakes had finally turned into a real snow storm, when Daryl finally reached the front door of his home. Quickly and unseen he slipped inside his room, which wasn't so much warmer, than the cold air outside.

Still damn happy he placed the stone on top of his old desk. After he had cleaned it as good as possible with the hem of his shirt, he eyed his present from every side. Hopefully Beth will like it.

Even when right now he already had a present, Daryl still thought it wasn't enough for her. Of course, it wasn't. Nothing so tiny was enough for someone like her. Like something could ever be enough for her.

Anger built up inside himself, while his brain tried at full speed to get an idea for a second present. Absently Daryl looked out of the window. It was shortly before sunset and like he had expected, the whole country was already covered from a white, glistening snow layer. Even for Daryl, this view in front of him was beautiful.

And then he got it. Even when he hadn't done it since a long time, probably since his mother had died, Daryl looked for a clean enough looking piece of paper and a pencil.

Carefully, knowing that he hadn't so much paper left, Daryl started to draw the pretty view from his window. He tried his best, he really did. His tongue popped out of his mouth, while his hands were almost shaking so nervous he felt.

He also had to make sure for not getting caught by his brother or father, but they didn't even know, that he was already back or that he was gone anyway. In time with the sunset Daryl was finished with his drawing and while he took it into the air in front of him, he had to admit, that it wasn't looking that bad. Hopefully Beth will think the same.

And then there was already the next question. How or when should he place the presents unseen on her desk tomorrow?

Like never before in his life, Daryl was the first one in class the next day. It was even still dark outside, when he entered the room and breathed out relieved, when he got it, that he was thankfully all alone. His heart was still beating fast against his rips. He had run the whole way in the hope to be the first one and have some time alone, so he could place the present on Beth's desk, before she and the other will come.

Quickly and with shaking hands Daryl placed the drawing and the pretty stone into Beth's drawer. Being okay with his work and with the way he had placed the presents, Daryl took his school bag and headed outside the room again. He didn't want to get seen as the first person in class by anyone. It would be too obvious and even when they were stupid, they would still get it.

So Daryl spent the next thirty minutes in one random corner of his school, before he entered the class room again. Even when he had tried it, he couldn't stop himself from looking at Beth from the corner of his eyes. But she just sat there like always, being the well-behaved girl she was.

Daryl had so focused on Beth, that he only got it, that something was laying on top of his desk, when he finally lowered himself on the chair. First he thought, that maybe someone had lost it, but then he remembered, that everyone did avoid his place, because yeah, he was stinky Dixon.

But then Daryl eyed it closer, even took it shocked into his hands, when he got it, that this was a little present. His little present. Still overwhelmed he quickly pulled it inside his bag, while he could feel how his head blushed badly. Someone had really given him a present.

But Daryl told himself to not be happy and overjoyed too early. He still didn't know what was inside. Maybe a bad trick, old eggs or moldy bread. Daryl decided to open it at home, so he didn't have to listen to his classmates laughs and watch how they pointed with their fingers at him. He didn't want to see and hear that.

It needed three hours, three hours of being damn nervous and tensed the whole time, till Beth finally opened her desk's drawer and she so found Daryl's little presents. With big eyes she watched the pretty stone in her hand, while her soft lips formed a bright smile.

Daryl's heart was beating even wilder, when Beth finally also noticed the folded drawing, he had tied together with a string. He really tried to watch her unnoticed, but Daryl was just too curious to see her expression. He wanted to know, if Beth liked his drawing, he had spent so much time with.

Her eyes got even wider in surprise and admiration, while her lips formed a silent wow. With her fingertips Beth moved softly over Daryl's pencil strokes, like she could wake up the drawing with that. Relieved Daryl breathed out, even when he hadn't even noticed, that he had held back his breath. Beth was obviously happy about the presents she had got.

Trying to take his eyes away from her, Daryl gave his whole attention to find his biologic book in his bag, to give his nervous hands something to do. In the very next second the teacher already entered the room and from the corner of his eyes Daryl watched how Beth put his drawing and the green stone cautious into her bag.

Thankfully the last school bell for today was ringing pretty soon, before Daryl made his way home. Like always no one has cooked him something for lunch, but if he was serious, he first wanted to do something more important, before he will make himself a sandwich.

Quickly Daryl left inside his room and closed the door behind him, like someone would give him any attention anyway. Being damn curious already the whole day long, he searched urgently in his school bag for the little present.

Sceptical Daryl was eyeing the light thing in his hand. Even when it will be something stupid, at least the dark red wrapping paper with the golden stars on it looked nice. Daryl even sniffed carefully at it, but it didn't smell bad or at anything at all.

After minutes, he finally made himself to open carefully the wrapping. A light grey box came to light, but Daryl still couldn't tell, what was inside. And suddenly he couldn't wait any more, couldn't open the box quickly enough for the first present ever in his life.

He almost gasped too loud, when he had opened to cover, had placed the thin paper from inside out of the way and a red, brand-new Swiss army knife finally came free. With unbelievable eyes and a wide opened mouth Daryl was eyeing his first present.

The metal of it felt cold in his palm, while he watched it from every side. No, this just couldn't be true, he thought to himself. Daryl had never got something like this before and it really had to be expensive, the way the surface was sparkling.

After he had opened the blade, he couldn't even wait any more to try it. But then Daryl suddenly hit a thought. Worried he looked over his shoulder to make sure, that his father or Merle weren't standing right behind him and looked at his present with big eyes. Daryl had to made sure, that the two of them won't get to know about it.

He had to keep it secret, to protect it like the treasure it was for him. So they couldn't take it away from him to sell it and buy even more alcohol and drugs with the money. And Daryl already knew it right now, what present he wanted to give Beth the next week.


Six days later and after spending hours with learning, trying and get to know how carving was working, Daryl had finally made it. He had finally carved a little rabbit, after he had spent the whole afternoons long in the woods. His hands were damn cold, he had also cut himself a few times and stayed, till it was dark in the middle of the forest.

Till today, he hadn't got another present, but Daryl didn't care, because even when he won't get the other three ones, he was still damn happy with his knife. He also still didn't know, who was his secret Santa, but that was the sense of the game, right?

On Thursday Daryl got, like last week, was sooner to school to hide his little present for Beth by her desk. He had stopped to count how often he had restarted with the wooden rabbit, before it was good enough for him, good enough for her. If he was serious, he was also a little proud about the result.

Thankfully no one had seen him hiding Beth's present and no one gave him any attention like always, when he entered the class as the last one. After the second hour, Beth had finally found the little rabbit with the red bow around its neck.

And like last week her expression was priceless for Daryl and he really had to force himself to look away from her shiny eyes, big happy smile and the way her soft finger stroked over the wooden rabbit's tiny head. Whoever had given Daryl this knife, he thanked this person so much for making it possible to make Beth smile.

He had complete forgotten about his own present, being already so focused on the next thing Daryl wanted to carve for Beth, when he just wanted to enter his class after having sports.

First he had just seen her golden locks, while Beth was kneeing next to her school bag on the floor. For a few seconds Daryl was playing with the thought to enter the room and say hi to her, but then she suddenly stood up with a little box in her hand.

Beth even looked over her shoulder to make sure one more time, that no one was in the same room. She obviously just played her role as secret Santa and tried to hide the box with the Christmas design for her portage. Daryl didn't want to bother her, he knew the rules of the game and just wanted to leave, when he looked back at Beth for one more time and his heart suddenly began to beat faster.

With shocked eyes Daryl was watching unbelievable how Beth placed the box on top of his own desk. She even shifted it three times, till the box was placed the way she had wanted it. Beth, Beth Greene was his, Daryl Dixon's, secret Santa.

He simply couldn't believe it. But on the other hand it was just logical. Who else would have given him such an expensive, new knife like her? No one, only she would, because Beth was an angel, in- and outside.

Being still frozen Daryl watched her for a few more moments through the door gap, before his brain almost screamed at him to get away from here. Like his clothes were on fire Daryl ran away as fast as possible. He didn't want to get caught by Beth, maybe she wouldn't give him any presents any more than, because she would be scared, that he would tell anybody about it.

Maybe they all would make fun about Beth, because of having Daryl as her portage. Something inside his belly began to knot by this thought and he already knew right now, that he would help her then, would protect her from their school mates nasty comments, because Daryl exactly knew how horrible it felt.

But at the same time he wanted to thank Beth for her first and now also second present. Wanted to thank her for being so nice and kind to him.

After Daryl had run down the corridor, was around the corner and out of sight his lips suddenly formed a big, bright smile, before he made a happy jump and laughed to himself.

Beth Greene was his secret Santa. Daryl still couldn't believe it and also he couldn't wait already right now to get to know what was inside the little box.

Like last week he packed his present quickly inside his bag, so no one could see it, but this time with a smirk on his lips. As fast as possible Daryl made his way home, entered it unseen and disappeared silently into his room.

After he had taken out the box, he threw his back careless into the corner and lowered himself on top of his old bed. Under the cover was again a thin paper and on top was laying a small sheet with Beth's already so familiar looking handwriting written Enjoy, they are self-made.

Daryl smiled to himself, when he imagined her writing this little message for him and making his curiosity so even bigger. Laying the white sheet carefully next to him on top of the mattress, Daryl already knew right now, that he will keep it. Following he pulled the thin paper away and what was coming to light then widened his eyes and watered his mouth at the same time.

The little box was full of self-made Christmas cookies. All nice and lovingly decorated, sorts Daryl had never seen in his life before and even less had tasted them and they all smelled so delicious.

Daryl took in their sweet smell and looked at each, while his tongue already watered impatiently his lips, while he tried to decide, which one he wanted to try first. He took himself a gingerbread man, it even had eyes and mouth, which caused Daryl to smile at it.

If he wouldn't have seen, that Beth had given him the Christmas cookies, he probably would have never tried them, being too scared, that maybe they would be poisoned or didn't taste good at all, but right now he couldn't wait to bite off the gingerbread man's head.

And even when it had already smelled like the best thing Daryl had ever got in front of his nose, it tasted even better. Overwhelmed he leaned back against the cold wall and enjoyed the cookies like Beth had wished him.

Twenty minutes later he had already eaten half of the box and Daryl really had to force himself to not also eat the rest of it. He should safe them for tomorrow and maybe also for Sunday, if he will be able to do so. But Daryl also had to make sure, that nether his father nor his brother will find the box. Beth had given this present to him and not to them. She was his secret Santa.

Daryl had worked for Beth's next present with even more efforts than the last two, because he was still so thankfully about the Christmas cookies, even when he had already eaten them up the second day.

The first three days Daryl had carved a star for her, he had even scratched a nice design into the wood, but finally he came to the decision, that it wasn't enough for Beth, not after everything. She deserved more, something better. And then Daryl got it.

As often as possible, without making it too obvious or even get caught, he watched her during school. As soon as he was at home he kept on with his new drawing, lunch wasn't necessary. He wanted to get this drawing finished, the latest on Thursday, so he could give it to her on Friday.

Daryl had almost spent the whole last night long to get his present finished, he was a few times shortly before crumple it together and begin from new, but finally he made it and he was even satisfied with his work.

Like the last two weeks Daryl got to school earlier than usually, hid the present for Beth by her desk and disappeared, till the lesson began. This time she finally found it after the fifth lesson, Daryl was shortly before getting crazy, when he suddenly heard her gasp.

With a relieved smile on his lips, Daryl watched how Beth looked closely at the drawing in her hand, the craved scar in her other. Her gasp not only got Daryl's attention, also from their school mates, when they all got closer to her side.

Slowly Daryl's good mood disappeared, when he got it, what was just happening. They all were looking clueless at the portrait from Beth Daryl had made. He prayed to God, that no one had seen him today, when he had placed the present on her table.

He could already hear their comments about what he was even thinking. He, the dirty redneck, tried to impress Beth Greene. Maybe they would think he had a crush on her. Daryl's heart began to beat faster by this thought, his hands began to sweat and he suddenly felt damn uncomfortable.

Nervous he watched the happening from the corner of his eyes, when some girl told Beth how beautiful this drawing was and if she knew, from whom it was. Daryl thought he will get fainted in the very next second, when Beth finally said, that she didn't have any clue, who was her secret Santa.

Only then Daryl began to breathe again, even when he hadn't even noticed, that he had stopped doing so. Slowly they all got away from Beth again and in the end Daryl even dared to look over to the blond girl one more time, when Beth just pulled the drawing and the star carefully into her back. Still, that wide smile on her lips.

Somehow she must have felt his eyes on her, when she looked over her shoulder and caught Daryl staring at her. Frozen, that was the only thing he was in this moment. Unable to move even one inch or at least look away, when Beth's lips formed a sweet smile into his direction.

Before, Daryl would have thought, that this beautiful smile wasn't for him. He would have looked away instantly and haven't even thought about it for one more time. But now he did even response her smile with a small smirk, before his cheeks began to blush and the teacher entered the room.

After break, two hours later, Daryl came back to his seat, when a present, wrapped into a dark blue Christmas wrapping, was laying on top of his desk. It felt pretty heavy, when he had quickly pulled it into his school bag.

At home Daryl locked himself inside his room, while he opened carefully the present. Like always his heart hammered wild against his rips, when he took the cover off. A little box was inside, in which Daryl exactly knew, what was inside and also the little note on top of it with Beth's unique handwriting I hope you liked them confirmed his expectation.

Carefully Daryl took the box with the Christmas cookies out of the package, just to see, that under it was another wrapped present. With big eyes and fast working hands Daryl opened it quickly and for the first few moments he was a little disappointed, when he was holding a heavy book in his hands.

On the cover was again a note from Beth, on which was standing I know, you probably don't like to read, but there are some pretty nice Christmas stories inside. Just try – I really love them.

Daryl had hidden the book under his pillow, before he ate half of the cookies and the rest of the afternoon he tried to think about, what he wanted to give Beth at his last present. It had to be something special, something wonderful, because it was her and she had given him such nice presents, even when he didn't know what to do with the book.

Evening came way to soon without a good idea, what he could give to her and he still had to do his homework. Merle and his father were fighting that evening again and Daryl just laid in his bed with palms pressed against his ears and tried not to listen to them.

Christmas was next Sunday, but the good vibration wasn't feel able inside here. Everything was like always and Daryl was also a little scared about the first Christmas, after his mother had died. He cried about her death more often the last time, but of course only when he was alone and no one could see or hear him.

Daryl knew, that Christmas won't change anything. He still won't get any presents, good meals, won't be able to spend time with his family or just a Christmas tree. He will spend the holidays alone inside his room or somewhere out. Hoping to not get too many beats or nasty words from his father. Maybe Merle will have some time for his little brother for at least a few hours.

The people on the streets or in school were all so happy, because soon the festival of the year will be there, but Daryl was just horrified about it. All the happy faces on the television, in the advertising or the Christmas decorating on the houses he couldn't see any more.

Why should he look forward to Christmas, when he didn't have someone to celebrate it with? Yeah, he at least hadn't school for days, but that also meant, that he had to spent more time at home and that caused more beats, more wounds, more tears, more bruises and more screams.

Daryl felt awful at this evening, even when this day had started so good. At least Merle and his father had stopped to yell at each other, because his brother had left the hut minutes ago.

Their fight and also the voices inside his head didn't let Daryl fall asleep. With opened eyes he was just laying in his bed, when he suddenly remembered about the book under his pillow.

Hesitantly he pulled it out and took on the faint light of the lamp next to his bed. Against his will, Daryl opened the book. He at least could look at the pictures, he thought to himself.

It was way over midnight, when Daryl started the sixth story. Maybe because he wasn't such a good and fast reader, but maybe it also took him that long, because the stories almost tied him so beautiful and well-written they were.

Beth was right, these Christmas stories were almost magical and Daryl just couldn't stop to read them. During the eight story his heavy eyes got closed without his will and Daryl fell asleep. He dreamed about all the beautiful things inside the stories, the things he won't ever have in his own life.

Three more stories Daryl read during next day, while he ate the last of Beth's delicious cookies. Like the last weeks it was snowing again, but these big snowflakes were new and also the wind blowing against the leaky windows.

Daryl was freezing the whole time long, also the blanket didn't help. After homework, he tried again to find an idea what he could give Beth. Only then Daryl realized, that it would be the last time to be able to make her happy with a little present, something Daryl had really enjoyed and liked.

Even when Beth won't ever find out, that it was him, who had given her all these presents or maybe because of that he felt this strange way. Because she won't ever get to know it. Because he was still afraid about how she would react, especially after the drawing he had made from her. But Daryl also couldn't imagine, that she would be shocked or even upset at him for being her secret Santa, because it was Beth.

She probably already exactly knew who her portage was and still she made him these great presents. Over the last weeks Daryl's need grew to get to really get to know this sweet girl with every day. Even when they hadn't talked even three different words together, he felt good around her. Not like the rest of his day. Even a little understood, like he wasn't the dirty, stinky redneck he felt.

Almost the whole afternoon Daryl sat by his desk and impatiently he waited for a good idea to pop into his head. He was so tensed and also nervous, which didn't make the situation any better. Finally he hit with his palm against the desk and rushed angrily with himself out of the house into the already darkness.